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FOREX-Dollar retreats on U.S. recovery doubts; bitcoin tops $47,000 for first time

    * Dollar still nursing wounds from disappointing U.S. jobs
figures
    * Bitcoin soars most since 2017 after Tesla backs digital
currency
    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E

    By Kevin Buckland
    TOKYO, Feb 9 (Reuters) - The dollar slumped to its lowest in
a week on Tuesday as investors began entertaining doubts about
the scale of a recent rally driven by expectations of a faster
pandemic recovery in the United States than elsewhere.
    The spotlight remained on bitcoin as it reached a
record above $47,000, building on a nearly 20% surge overnight
that was the biggest since 2017, after Tesla Inc
announced a $1.5 billion investment in the digital asset.

    The dollar index weakened 0.2% to 90.75 in the Asian
session, and dipped to 90.963 for the first time since Feb. 1.
    The U.S. currency has been in retreat since Friday, when
disappointing jobs data knocked the wind out of a two-week run
that had lifted it to a more than two-month high of 91.6. 
    Investors had pushed up the greenback thanks to a faster
U.S. vaccine rollout relative to most other countries, and as
Democrats moved to fast-track President Joe Biden's $1.9
trillion COVID-19 relief package. 
    Many analysts, though, see that massive fiscal spending
coupled with continued ultra-easy Federal Reserve monetary
policy dragging down the dollar in the longer term.
    "The bottom line is a large stimulus is highly likely to
pass soon, exacerbating the widening in the U.S. current account
deficit, and weighing on the USD," Commonwealth Bank of
Australia currency analyst Joseph Capurso said in a client note.
    Europe's "lagging" vaccination program will cap the euro
near-term but the continent should catch up by the summer, after
which the single currency could rally to $1.28 for the first
time since 2014, he said.
    The euro rose 0.2% to $1.20775 on Tuesday, up from the
two-month low of $1.9520 touched Friday.
    The British pound renewed its highs since May 2018 by
climbing to $1.3784 in Asia. It last traded up 0.3% at $1.3774.
    The dollar slipped 0.3% to 104.925 yen, after strengthening
to 105.765 at the end of last week for the first time since
October.
    Elsewhere, Tesla sent bitcoin surging by saying in its 2020
annual report on Monday that it had bought $1.5 billion of the
world's most popular cryptocurrency as part of its broad
investment policy, and that it expected to begin accepting the
digital asset as payment for its products "in the near future."
    "This is a turning point for how we view digital
currencies," said Junichi Ishikawa, a foreign-exchange
strategist at IG Securities in Tokyo.
    "From here on, bitcoin will be genuinely considered as an
asset available for selection by asset managers in their
portfolios."
    Bitcoin traded at $46,400 after pushing to a new record
at$47,565.86 on Tuesday.
    Rival virtual currency ethereum changed hands at $1,733.14
after reaching an unprecedented $1,784.85 on Monday.
    Riskier fiat currencies also received a boost as rising
stock markets buoyed sentiment.
    The Australian dollar gained 0.3% to 77.252 U.S. cents,
while its New Zealand peer added 0.4% to 72.47 U.S. cents.
    Westpac is targeting an advance to 75 U.S. cents for New
Zealand's currency, strategist Imre Speizer wrote in a client
note published Tuesday. 
    "Markets have acknowledged NZ’s successful Covid management
and ensuing economic recovery, but recent economic data has
surprised even the most optimistic pundits," the note said.
    
========================================================
    Currency bid prices at 1:15PM (415 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
                                              Session                                           
 Euro/Dollar                  $1.2077        $1.2050     +0.23%         -1.15%      +1.2082     +1.2049
 Dollar/Yen                   104.8870       105.2100    -0.25%         +1.61%      +105.2470   +104.9500
 Euro/Yen                     126.69         126.78      -0.07%         -0.18%      +126.8400   +126.7000
 Dollar/Swiss                 0.8965         0.8989      -0.27%         +1.33%      +0.8990     +0.8960
 Sterling/Dollar              1.3774         1.3742      +0.25%         +0.83%      +1.3782     +1.3739
 Dollar/Canadian              1.2723         1.2740      -0.11%         -0.06%      +1.2740     +1.2720
 Aussie/Dollar                0.7724         0.7704      +0.28%         +0.43%      +0.7730     +0.7701
 NZ                           0.7247         0.7220      +0.40%         +0.95%      +0.7252     +0.7219
 Dollar/Dollar All spots
Tokyo spots
Europe spots 
Volatilities 
Tokyo Forex market info from BOJ 

    
 (Reporting by Kevin Buckland; additional reporting by Stanley
White
Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
  
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